South Carolina

Man facing federal charges for damage caused at Fort Sumter

A Charleston-area man is facing federal charges after authorities say he defaced a structure at the South Carolina fort where the Civil War began, officials said Thursday.

Noah Sigalas, 21, of Sullivan's Island was indicted Tuesday on charges of defacing an archaeological resource and government property, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Beth Drake. Authorities said that Sigalas was visiting Fort Sumter, in the Charleston harbor, in March when he pulled on a support pole that was stabilizing a casemate wall, causing more than $1,000 in damage. A casemate is a gun emplacement.

If convicted, Sigalas faces possible penalties of more than a decade in prison and nearly $300,000 in fines. Court papers listed no attorney for Sigalas, who was scheduled to appear in court later this month.

Fort Sumter, on Charleston Harbor, was bombarded by Confederate guns on April 12, 1861, in a fight that started four years of civil war. It's part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, one of 84 national monuments among 413 sites administered by the National Park Service.

Chief ranger Ben Byrnes said the fort is a valuable historical resource, where many of the bricks date back to its original construction, which began in 1829.

"Destroying any part of Fort Sumter brick is like literally erasing a page from the history of the United States," he said.

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